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Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on Fed chief's soothing comments

South Korean stocks advanced for the second consecutive day Wednesday as investor concerns of fast tapering was partially eased by the US Federal Reserve's comments that support its accommodative policy. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) rose 12.31 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 3,276.19 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1 billion shares worth some 17.4 trillion won ($15.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 595 to 271.

Foreigners sold a net 10 billion won, while retail investors bought 84 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 31 billion won.

Local stocks advanced, taking a cue from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's reassurance that the recent inflation rate has grown faster than expected but will likely stabilize down the road.

The Fed chief's remarks helped stabilize US Treasury yields and triggered tech rallies on Wall Street, driving up large caps in Seoul as well.

"The fall in US Treasury yields seem to have prodded investors to take a look at tech shares again, although future comments from the Fed may bring adjustments," Shinhan Financial analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.

In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics edged up 0.12 percent to 80,100 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix climbed 1.64 percent to 124,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver surged 8.31 percent to a record high of 423,500 won, with its rival Kakao jumping 6.6 percent to an all-time high of 169,500 won. Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics increased 1.3 percent to 857,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.62 percent to 242,500 won, while leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 0.83 percent to 835,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,137.7 won against the US dollar, down 5.8 from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)